order Keppra where to buy diuretic lasix A typical dictionary says that manifesto is the a declaration of policy, belief, intentions and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or a candidate. It is made in public with the sole objective of getting more votes to get elected to lead and rule the society. In simple language it is a list of assurances and promises. The voters are human beings. Hence by corollary, the promises are about the healthy future of the people.

What about manifesto by a citizen?

Voter also has beliefs, intentions and aims about the well-being and prosperity. Would such manifesto help the authors of the political manifesto to understand the society better? Would that be a manifesto for effective manifesto of the political parties?

Fortunately the ‘manifesto of citizens ’ has the timely backdrop. The world’s largest gathering of religious devotees, nearly 150 million, huddled together on the banks of river Ganges in India, from January 2019 for nearly 2 months. That was the festival of spirituality called ‘Kumbhamela’ . Taking a holy dip in the waters of three rivers that flow from Himalaya and meet near the northern city of Prayagraj is the key aim of these pilgrims. Nowhere in the world such mammoth flocking of the people of single faith is observed at regular interval.

And now comes, just a month from that congregation, world’s largest festival of democracy in India, also coming at regular interval . 900 million eligible voters of India’s total population of 1300 million , with singular faith in democracy, would decide the fate of the candidates and the political parties. It is India’s general election that comes every 5 years to elect 543 law makers for the parliament called Lokasabha ( People’s Congress). The pilgrims of democracy, voters, would take a social dip in the political waters . These celebrations by the people, of the people , for the people would also last nearly two months, after which new government would take the reins in the hands to start implementing and realising the promises that they would to the people.

The voters have started recognising that the political parties cannot just keep them at the centre while seeking the votes. The ecosystem, that is essential to the survival of the voters , have to be at the centre of the manifesto .

Here are the tenets of such citizen’s manifesto. India’s unique character and its DNA lie in the participatory and interlinked societies for better living by respecting nature . Nature is not only the lifeline for the supply of basic resources but also considered by boundless library of knowledge for India. Respecting and worshipping the five elements calledpanchamahabuta’ ( five great elements, which, according to Hinduism which is other name for ‘Indian way of life’ is the basis of all cosmic creation) . These are: earth, water, Fire, Air and Space.

Mountains in the north and oceans in the south hold together buzzing, bustling and bouncing India and its people. India not only constitute humans but also the flora and fauna. That in fact is the starting code of the ‘Citizens Manifesto’ . Its modern algorithm uses the ancient language of ensuring the welfare and safety of nature and the ecosystems that sustain our life.

Farmers’ distress due to dwindling yield and income , Youth’s disillusionment due to rising unemployment, poor people’s exclusion due to rising inequality are the three key priority burning issues this time for the world’s largest election.

The mother-issues, however, is the climate change and the state of the environment in India . The irreversible degradation of the nature and ecosystems, that have been providing us the fundamental resources for the development from the time immemorial, is devastating. The dilemma is that the very choice made by India to select development path is now responsible for the environmental degradation. The climate change is the catastrophic expression and display of that choice. All other issues like terrorism, national security, inflation, fiscal deficit and even air pollution are the progeny of this mother issue.

While the loan waivers , sending thousands of rupees into the saving bank accounts of the poor, providing free home appliances, free water for all, free electricity for all farmers and luring promises of very cheap cereals for staple foods have been till now part of the manifesto and good gifts to ‘celebration of festival of democracy’. In the past such gifts have proven to be winning tactics for the candidate.

Time has arrived for celebrating now the elections as the
‘ festival of future’ of sustainable living. The election should no longer be considered as the opportunity to elect the candidate of choice but the occasion of selecting the future that citizen’s want. It should be the juncture to decide future of the present generations without compromising that of future generations.

India is facing the Himalayan dilemma. Water of Ganges in which millions take holy dip during Kumbhamela, originates from glaciers in Himalaya. They are melting at unprecedented speed due to global warming. Hindu-Kush-Himalaya holds largest ice cover, after the Arctic and Antarctic regions, which feeds the water into the rivers in India on which more than 250 million people depend. “ With the best possible worlds if we get really ambitious [in tackling climate change], even then we will lose one-third of the glaciers- that for us was the shocking finding.” stated the authors of the report by the ICMOD ( International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) released in February 2019.

As a consequence of the melting ice, the water in Ganges is expected to be heavily flooded between 2050 and 2060 and then progressively vanished by 2100. Many may consider it as distant future but the many of the lakes formed by the ice melt are bursting and the hydroelectric dams are currently in danger, causing the floods due to the bursts of small dams that signal hydro-electricity crisis.

This is direct threat not only to holy-dip in Ganges during the Kumbhamela festival , but the lives of about 40 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population that depends on the food bowl of Gangetic Plain. The agricultural produce from food-bowl would have India-wide impact . Worst impact will be on farmers’ precious lives, weather their loans are waved or not.

The new report highlights how vulnerable many mountain people are. These people are from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, with one-third living on less than $1.90 a day and far away from help if climate disaster strikes.

Tensions between neighbouring nations such as India and Pakistan could exacerbate the sufferings. “There are rocky times ahead for the region. Because many of the disasters and sudden changes will play out across country borders, conflict among the region’s countries could easily flare up,” as per ICIMOD.

Migration due to sufferings in these area would cause the economic pressures on other states and competition for the jobs.

Global warming , however, has wider impacts than just melting of glaciers and sufferings in Gangetic plains and mountains area . Take for example 12 coastal states of India where the fish stocks in the seas are decreasing rapidly due to warm water which absorbs more carbon dioxide and becomes acidic, which in turn disrupts the marine food-chain. The impacts on sea-fisheries is already visible and signalling long term and irreversible damages. Inland polluted waters in the rivers and lake have nearly wiped out the freshwater fisheries. The essential supply of nutrients is dwindling along with living of those employed directly and indirectly in this sector.

Use of fossil fuel is the main driver of the climate change. The air pollution is the other side of the same coin. It is sarcastically stated that Delhi is the world’s capital of air-pollution. Reports keep pouring on how Indian cities are polluted with its poor air quality which in many a times is thousands of times worse than WHO standards. The latest report of March 2019 of Greenpeace states that 7 out of 10 most air-polluted cities are in India . Nearly 1.2 million deaths are estimated from India due to air-pollution as per WHO. Economic value of damages due to air pollution is estimated to be 3 to 8 percent of GDP of India. The children and women population are more vulnerable and hence many times it is extremely difficult to forecast the real impacts of air pollution.

The rich in India – 10 percent of rich own 75 percent of national wealth and they are getting richer by 40 percent every year-have economic muscle to face rising prices, air pollution and survive the natural disasters. Inequality in India feeds to the environmental sufferings.

It gets clearer that climate change is the mother-issue of farmers’ plight, youth’s disillusionment due to rising unemployment, poor people’s exclusion due to rising inequality. Even distantly related issues like terrorism and inflation seem to be closely connected to climate change.

The manifestos replete with loan waivers, free water, free electricity to farmers , health services, reduced taxation and cheaper foodgrains in such grim situation appear to be archaic and out of context. What is needed is accelerated promotion of use of natural gas and clean sources of energy including solar, super energy efficiency, balanced, innovative and safe use of nuclear energy , spread of electrical charging infrastructure for electrical vehicles and massive afforestation. The ambitious target should be reduce the fossil fuel use by 50 percent by 2040 and 100 percent by 2100 as recommended by the IPCC. Intense rain water harvesting , reducing the surface water pollution, water conservation and recycling have to be subject of the strict implementation and breaching should be dealt by punitive measures.

More importantly, all these ambitious goals appear to be within reach knowing the sky-rocketing potential of digital technologies like Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Block chain and cloud networking.

Indeed the guiding principles for Citizen’s Manifesto should the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs). In the year 2015 , one year after the last general election of India, United Nations set out an ambitious new agenda and benchmarks, aiming to steer the course of the world towards sustainable development – this by 2030.

Designed to comprehensively address an interconnected range of issues, these new Goals on poverty and hunger removal, wellbeing of the people and planet, climate change, protecting the oceans and forests , health and sanitation, access to clean water and clean energy, peace and building partnerships and strong institutions are set to facilitate collective for a shared future.

Pointing to the “unprecedented prosperity, but also unspeakable deprivation around the world’, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said it all when he had stated during his speech to United Nations during the adaptation of SDGs , ‘ We ( India) represent a culture that calls our planet Mother Earth’.

Indeed, one can never wish to waive the loan taken from Mother Earth for our current wellbeing. We have to return it with interest so that future of next generation of the Mother Earth is not compromised. That should be the preamble of the citizen’s manifesto. END

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